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Additional days of work, diesel subsidy for drought-hit areas

A slew of measures including allocation of additional days of work under the rural job guarantee scheme, diesel subsidies and enhanced ceiling on seed subsidy have been taken by the government to provide relief to farmers in the wake of the rain deficit, an official statement said on Monday.

“To provide immediate relief to farmers, in view of the deficit monsoon during Kharif 2015, the government of India has taken a number of decisions. Orders on these measures have been issued to all state governments, which would implement them on the basis of assessed need,” the agriculture ministry said in a statement.

In drought-affected areas, an additional 50 days of unskilled manual work during the financial year would be provided over the assured 100 days employment under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

“The poorest rural households will benefit from this, as it will help in immediate absorption of rural seasonal unemployment, and reduce rural distress,” the statement said.

Farmers would also be provided a diesel subsidy of Rs.2,000 per hectare to offset the cost of diesel used for pumping water in areas where the rainfall deficit is more than 50 percent.

Moreover, the government has raised the ceiling on seed subsidy by 50 percent over the existing levels for distribution in the drought-hit areas.

States have also been advised to initiate advance remedial actions and keep aside about 5 to 10 percent of fund allocated under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) for taking interventions to minimize the impact of deficit rainfall, the statement said.

Other measures taken by government include sending SMS advisories, on weather and measures to minimize adverse impact of extreme weather event, to registered farmers.

The government has also released the first installment of State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) to the state governments.